Page last updated at 17:16 GMT, Tuesday, 28 April 2009 18:16 UK

Four Irish flu tests 'negative'

Center For Disease Control and Prevention image of swine flu virus
Four people in the Republic of Ireland tested for the swine flu virus have been given the all-clear.

Four people in the Republic of Ireland tested for the swine flu virus have been given the all-clear.

It comes as the authorities in Northern Ireland said they had set up at an emergency control centre at Stormont to deal with any outbreak of swine flu.

The NI health department said they expect to see some cases of the virus.

Health Minister Michael McGimpsey said leaflets were being printed for distribution at ports, airports and to the general public.

He said that basic hygiene was effective in halting the spread of the flu.

The minister said measures such as thorough hand-washing and using tissues when coughing and sneezing could curb infection.

Mr McGimpsey said there were no confirmed cases of swine flu in Northern Ireland or in the Republic, two in Scotland and none in England or Wales.

Travelling

"The World Health Organisation will say the UK and France are the best prepared countries in the world for dealing with this type of threat, that we have stockpiles of antiviral medicines to cope with the worse case scenario of the flu threat," he said.

However, Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Liz Mitchell said: "We anticipate that with the number of people travelling to affected areas and returning here, it's likely that we will see some cases throughout the UK and we'd expect we'd see our share of those in NI."

A further two people were being tested in the Irish Republic on Tuesday for possible swine flu. Authorities in the Republic have now had five tests for the virus come back negative.

The suspected cases were not very ill and had not been admitted to hospital. The first British cases of swine flu were confirmed in Scotland on Monday.

Predict

Ireland's Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said they had plans in place for any eventuality.

"We can't predict exactly what we are going to see, but we are planning on the basis that we will see cases and we are planning to ensure we are ready to deal with that eventuality," he said.

Experts from the HSE, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre and the Department of Health and Children are monitoring the situation.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) warned that many more samples will be received from GPs in the coming weeks as holidaymakers return from long-haul trips with flu-like symptoms.



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